The White House's Reaction to the GameStop Frenzy

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Posted: Jan 29, 2021 6:15 AM
The White House's Reaction to the GameStop Frenzy

Source: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The White House refused to answer questions about the populist revolt happening against Wall Street and whether Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will recuse herself from advising President Biden about GameStop and Robinhood.

Robinhood and other trading platforms on Thursday restricted GameStop, AMC, and a number of other names to “position closing only” so traders were not able to buy more shares, only sell their existing holdings. On Friday, the company began allowing limited buys. 

According to RealClearPolitics, this move came after Yellen was reportedly “on the phone all day Wednesday talking to key players involved in all aspects of the scandal.”

She has been paid more than $800,000 in speaking fees by Citadel, the hedge fund that bailed out one of the biggest losers in the GameStop buying spree.

But Psaki, responding to a reporter’s question about Yellen’s possible recusal, wouldn’t say one way or the other.

“To be clear, what I said is that the Treasury Secretary is now confirmed. Obviously, we have a broader economic team. The FCC put out a statement yesterday that I referred to," she said. "I don't have anything further for you on it, except for to say, separate from this GameStop issue, the Treasury Secretary is a world-renowned expert on the economy. It should not be a surprise to anyone that she was paid to give her expert advice before she came into office."

The press secretary also had nothing to say about what the administration is doing to “protect the average American investor if there’s going to be, potentially a major market correction,” referring the reporter instead to an SEC statement, noting the commission is “monitoring the ongoing market volatility.”

On Wednesday, when Psaki was asked if the White House was “concerned” about the stock market situation, the press secretary responded by touting that Yellen is the first female Treasury Secretary and the situation is being monitored.  

Fox News’s Tucker Carlson offered a translation of that response during his Thursday program.

“Janet Yellen has nothing to say about Reddit or GameStop, short selling or even the dangerously corrupt condition of American finance,” he said. “More broadly, she hasn't thought about those things and probably doesn't even care. Janet Yellen herself has made millions from hedge funds, including from funds that lost money to the Reddit guys. But we'd like to remind you that Janet Yellen is a woman and so are many of the people around her. These brave leaders have broken glass ceilings. They are empowered, and that's enough. We can't give you an answer. We won't improve your life. But we do have diversity, so you should be happy.”

The host said the GameStop frenzy is another indication that people across the country are suddenly waking up to a lot of things. 

“We may come to see the Reddit guys and their effective defense of GameStop as a kind of turning point in this country's history,” he said. “Whatever our current system is, it is definitely not the capitalism we were promised, not even close.”